Tag: upskilling

Lack of resources and leadership support stifles upskilling efforts

According to new research from O’Reilly, the demand for digitally skilled workers in UK vertical industries, including technology, finance, e-commerce, and retail, is outgrowing the level of digital skills available.

Despite this, only 51% of British companies within these industries are willing to spend more than £25,000 on recruitment and learning and development to boost skills such as cybersecurity, software architecture, and data analysis.

Three hundred HR decision-makers within the technology, finance, e-commerce, and retail industries were surveyed to find out which digital skills are most in demand. The research, conducted by Censuswide in September 2022, also looked at the potential barriers to upskilling staff.

The research found that 27% of the HR decision-makers believe their organisation faces the biggest lack of skilled workers in cybersecurity, followed by software architecture at 15%, and data analysis at 14%.

Yet, only 33% are willing to spend more than £10,000 on recruitment and L&D to hire cybersecurity talent. Seventy-one percent of organisations will spend no more than £10,000 on recruitment and L&D for data analysis, and 68% said the same about software architecture skills.

On the other hand, 32% of organisations are planning to spend £20,000 or more on recruitment for AI and ML and 31% on cloud. More than a quarter of organisations will spend up to or more than £20,000 on AI and ML (29%) and cloud (28%) L&D to upskill employees.

The research also found that over the next 12 months, organisations will spend an average of:

  • £13,962 on L&D for Gen Z
  • £13,608 for Millennials
  • £13,495 for Gen X

The majority (83%) of vertical industries plan to spend between £25,000 – £50,000 on overall recruitment for skilled tech vacancies over the next twelve months; however, only 78% will spend the same amount on tech-related L&D.

Looking at each sector, the research revealed that:

  • The technology sector is planning to spend an average of £33,676 on recruitment and £31,651 on L&D.
  • The finance sector will spend an average of £33,075 on recruitment and £31,400 on L&D.
  • The retail and e-commerce sector will spend an average of £29,275 on recruitment and £28,801 on L&D.

The research found that the biggest barriers to upskilling current employees are : Insufficient resources (21%); lack of internal personnel (19%); lack of internal buy-in (17%).

In the tech sector, 21% of organisations agreed that lack of leadership support is a key barrier to upskilling current employees. Conversely, across all industries combined, 58% of HR decision-makers said that they are ‘significantly’ supported by leadership when it comes to investment in tech-related L&D.

Alexia Pedersen, VP of EMEA at O’Reilly, commented: “It’s encouraging that 80% of companies within the UK’s tech, finance and retail sectors have increased investment for tech-related learning and development over the past three years. However, our data suggests that further investment is needed to recession-proof the UK’s vertical industries.”

“With the pound currently at a 37-year low against the dollar, now is the time for companies to deploy upskilling programmes alongside ongoing recruitment efforts. Likewise, employees should prioritise L&D to safeguard their role and make themselves an invaluable asset to their organisation. This will be key to creating a highly skilled workforce that keeps British businesses at the forefront of their industries globally.”

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Reskilling workforce key to plugging skills shortage hole

The newest McKinsey Global Survey on reskilling has highlighted the urgency needed to address massive skills gaps across all industries. The accelerated move towards digitization and remote work has placed new demands on employees who now require different skills to support significant changes to the way they work and to the business priorities their companies are setting.

Most of the survey respondents said that skill building (more than hiring, contracting, or redeploying employees) is the best way to close skills gaps and that they have accelerated their efforts to reskill or upskill employees since the start of the pandemic. The results also pointed towards a shift in the most important skills to develop, which leaned towards being social and emotional in nature, for example, empathy, leadership, and adaptability.

The survey suggested that the need to address skill gaps is imperative with most respondents (58%) saying that closing skill gaps in their companies’ workforces has become a higher priority since the pandemic began. And of five key actions to close these gaps – hiring, contracting, redeploying, releasing, and building skills within the current workforce – skill building is more prevalent now than it was in the months preceding the pandemic. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said that their organizations do more skill building now than they did before the COVID-19 crisis.

The redeploying of talent to new roles often requires some degree of skill building and has become more commonplace over the past year with 46% of respondents reporting an increase in redeploying talent within their organizations.

Additionally, the results of the survey suggested that this commitment to skill building represents more than a one-time investment. More than half of respondents said that their companies plan to increase their spending on learning and skill building over the next year, compared with their investments since the end of 2019.



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Net employment outlook at third strongest in Europe

According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, employers across Ireland anticipate the highest level of hiring in 17 years, for the fourth quarter according to The Net Employment Outlook for Ireland stands at +34%, the third strongest in Europe. The powerhouse area behind this positivity is the manufacturing sector – up 53 percentage points from the previous year to +39% for Q4 2021.

Transport and logistics is also poised for headcount growth, with employment outlook rising to 39% for the coming quarter. The retail sector also intends to hire significantly, bouncing back with the promise of continued government employment supports for the industry remaining in place until March 2022.

Elsewhere, the finance and business service sector remains strong, up ten percentage points on last quarter to +20%. However, the construction industry is being hit by limitations to supplies and hiring plans and has contracted 19 percentage points from last quarters record high, yet the employers in the sector remain optimistic with a hiring Outlook of +20%.

  • Nationwide, employers in all industry sectors report positive hiring plans for Q4.
  • From a regional perspective, employers in Dublin are reporting positive hiring intent with an outlook of +39%, with Munster being the most positive province for the next quarter at +44%.
  • Larger-sized organisations (250+ employees) are reporting the strongest hiring confidence for Q4 with an employment outlook of +39%.
  • Currently 69% of employers are struggling to fill roles. This leaves us with a significant talent gap where employers need to be investing in recruitment drives, upskilling and retraining programmes as long-term solutions to filling roles.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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Despite the huge increase in job listings over the past few months, an even greater increase in the number of unemployed people has led to a sharp rise in the number of jobseekers per vacancy.

Analysis by online job search engine Adzuna and the Institute for Employment Studies found that despite the record number of vacancies advertised in June, on average the number of claimant unemployed per advertised role had risen to 2.2, up from 1.2 in March.

While the research found that there were more than a million jobs available in June, with more than 300,000 new vacancies advertised in the past week alone, it also pointed to a mismatch between the location and skills of jobseekers and the roles on offer.

Disparities between regions meant that in 30 locations there were more than 10 unemployed claimants chasing every vacancy, while in almost 100 areas there were more than five claimants for each job.

Ex-industrial, inner city and ‘Red Wall’ areas, where inequalities predated the pandemic, were found to be worst affected by imbalances in supply and demand.

Tony Wilson, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “Since the turn of the year we’ve gone from talking about an unemployment crisis to a recruitment crisis.  But the reality is that we’re facing a bit of both – with many firms struggling to fill jobs at the same time that more than two million people are struggling to find work. These problems are particularly acute in many of those areas that were faring worse before the crisis began and that are most in need of support as we come out of it.

“Government deserves credit for helping to avoid a jobs catastrophe last year.  But if we don’t act quickly now to help employers to fill jobs and the unemployed to take them up then we could be setting a timebomb for next year of labour shortages, higher inflation and long-term unemployment.”

Skills gap widening

This sentiment was echoed by Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, which found in its latest JobsOutlook survey that business confidence in the UK economy had turned positive for the first time since June 2018.

“This surge in employers’ confidence in the UK economy is remarkable – an improvement of 61 percentage points from the previous quarter as restrictions were lifted and businesses started to open again. Positivity about hiring has steadily improved alongside that, and we are now seeing the highest levels of confidence for five years.

“However, we are seeing labour and skills shortages across the economy right now, which the pandemic has made worse. These could threaten to slow down the recovery if not addressed quickly. It’s vital that companies and governments come together and improve access to training and support for everyone who needs it, so that jobseekers are able to find work in those sectors that are growing.”

Part of the issue is that the pandemic has brought about enormous growth in some sectors, but led to a drop-off in others, meaning many of those out of work aren’t immediately suited to the roles on offer.

Adzuna’s analysis, using Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, showed that while trade and construction jobs have doubled compared with March 2020 and logistics and warehousing and manufacturing vacancies have more than trebled, other sectors have been flat or seen little growth.

For example, accounting/finance, legal, energy, healthcare/nursing and graduate jobs had all seen growth of 4% or less, with graduate roles actually declining slightly since March 2020.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, explained: “Many of the people currently out of work aren’t matching up to the jobs on offer, despite an acute talent shortage. This means many jobs are lying unfilled and accumulating, inflating overall hiring volumes.

“Upskilling and retraining will be crucial to ensure this talent flows where it’s needed. Wider moves to help people into jobs, including better childcare support and regular, flexible hours will play a part.”

The Adzuna/Institute for Employment Studies report called on the government to help employers and jobseekers by getting Jobcentre Plus back up and running and by offering funding for retraining in shortage sectors.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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